A fruiting vine that belongs to family of Cucurbitaceae, ampalaya is also called bitter melon for its taste (due to the presence of a substance known as momorcidin). In the Philippine, its fruits is eaten as vegetables. The interest in this herb rise when it is proven clinically to help in the management of patients with diabetes.
Diabetes is now a pandemic disease affecting millions of people worlwide, most of which are unaware of thier problem until severe complications strucks them. People diagnosed with diabetes will have it for the rest of their life. There is no cure for diabetes; exercise, healthy diet, insulin (for type 1 DM) and/or oral hypoglycemic agents will only manage the problem.
Ampalaya can play a major role in this aspect particularly to those affected with type 11 diabetes. Recent studies confirm that it can mimic the actions of oral hypoglycemic agent by lowering blood glucose level. Its active ingredients include steroidal saponins (known as charantins), polypeptide-P (insulin-like peptides) and alkaloids. These components have shown to enhance uptake of glucose into the cell by helping insulin activates it receptor sites. It also promotes the release of insulin from the pancreas to help decrease the saturation of glucose in the blood.
☆ Health Benefits of Ampalaya/Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd)
● Packs Several Important Nutrients
Ampalaya/Bitter melon is a great source of several key nutrients.
One cup (94 grams) of raw ampalaya/bitter melon provides:
● Calories: 20
● Carbs: 4 grams
● Fiber: 2 grams
● Vitamin C: 93% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
● Vitamin A: 44% of the RDI
● Folate: 17% of the RDI
● Potassium: 8% of the RDI
● Iron: 4% of the RDI
Ampalaya/bitter melon is especially rich in vitamin C, an important micronutrient involved in disease prevention, bone formation, and wound healing.
It’s also high in vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes skin health and proper vision.
It provides folate, which is essential for growth and development, as well as smaller amounts of potassium, zinc, and iron.
Ampalaya/Bitter melon is a good source of catechin, gallic acid, epicatechin, and chlorogenic acid, too – powerful antioxidant compounds that can help protect your cells against damage.
Plus, it’s low in calories yet high in fiber – fulfilling approximately 8% of your daily fiber needs in a single one-cup (94-gram) serving.
● Help Reduce Blood Sugar
Ampalaya/bitter melon has long been used by indigenous populations around the world to help treat diabetes- related conditions.
In recent years, several studies confirmed the fruit’s role in blood sugar control.
A 3-month study in 24 adults with diabetes showed that taking 2,000 mg of ampalaya/bitter melon daily decreased blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, a test used to measure blood sugar control over three months.
Another study in 40 people with diabetes found that taking 2,000 mg per day of ampalaya/bitter melon for 4 weeks led to a modest reduction in blood sugar levels.
The supplement significantly decreased levels of fructosamine, another marker of long-term blood sugar control.
Ampalaya/Bitter melon is thought to improve the way that sugar is used in your tissues and promote the secretion of insulin, the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels.
● May Have Cancer Fighting Properties
Research suggests that ampalaya/bitter melon contains certain compounds with cancer-fighting properties.
One test-tube study showed that ampalaya/bitter melon extract was effective at killing cancer cells of the stomach, colon, lung, and nasopharynx – the area located behind the nose at the back of your throat.
Another test-tube study had similar findings, reporting that ampalaya/bitter melon extract was able to block the growth and spread of breast cancer cells while promoting cancer cell death.
These studies were performed using concentrated amount of ampalaya/bitter melon extract on individual cells in a laboratory.
● Decrease Cholesterol Levels
High levels of cholesterol can cause fatty plaque to build up in your arteries, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood and increasing your risk of heart disease.
Several animal studies found that ampalaya/bitter melon may decrease cholesterol levels to support overall heart health.
One study in rats on a high-cholesterol diet observed that administering ampalaya/bitter melon extract led to significant decreases in levels of total cholesterol, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Another study noted that giving rats a ampalaya/bitter melon extract significantly reduced cholesterol levels compared to a placebo. Higher doses of ampalaya/bitter melon showed the greatest decrease.
● May Aid Weight Loss
Ampalaya/bitter melon makes an excellent addition to a weight loss diet, as it’s low in calories yet high in fiber. It contains approximately 2 grams of fiber in each one-cup (94-gram) serving.
Fiber passes through your digestive tract very slowly, helping keep you fuller for longer and reducing hunger and appetite. Therefore, swapping higher-calorie ingredients with ampalaya/bitter melon could help increase your fiber intake and cut calories to promote weight loss.
Some research also shows that ampalaya/bitter melon can have beneficial effects on fat burning and weight loss.
One study found that consuming a capsule containing 4.8 grams of ampalaya/bitter melon extract each day led to significant decreases in belly fat.
Participants lost an average of 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) from their waist circumference after seven weeks.
Similarly, a study in rats on a high-fat diet observed that ampalaya/bitter melon extract helped decrease body weight compared to a placebo.
Reference: herbanext.com /